the harpy trembles with a distant rhythm
pulsing and scratching at the curl of my ear
she sheds her skin to unravel the scales
revealing muscle and bone wound with salt
she breathes into the nape of my neck
teeth tilling the weave of tiny hairs on end
I close my eyes to the siren
as she whisks heat between wings

tongue as obelisk her chassis morphs

to birth spikes like snapdragon petals
nectar creeps from a curved lip
down my chin to pool in my palm
mouth tethers plexus to belly, hip to thigh
body as beacon I grip the gulf of her
clutching flesh to force us into the shore



Charlene Ashley Taylor earned a BA in English with a Minor in Linguistics from the University of Louisville. She’s a former editor of The White Squirrel and mentor for the Sarabande Writing Labs. Her work has appeared in Limestone Journal, Coe Review, Transcendent Zero Press, The Bitter Oleander, The Chaffey Review, Yellow Chair Review, Spry Literary Journal, and others. She is currently a MA student in English at the University of Louisville, working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the University Writing Center and interns as a leading editor with Miracle Monocle.